Punjab fair price shop owners go on strike

Demand compensation to distribute cheap grain

Fair price shop owners in Punjab went on an indefinite strike on Monday to demand compensation for distributing subsidised foodgrain scheme.

“We decided to go on strike for an indefinite period as the Punjab government has not been able to address our concerns,” Punjab Depot Holders Union president Gurjinder Singh Sidhu said here on Monday.

He said the depot holders will not distribute subsidised items including foodgrain to Below Poverty Line families or kerosene during strike period.

Punjab has 26,000 fair price shops across the state.

The shop owners want Rs 20,000 per month as fixed compensation for bearing administrative and transportation expenses for distribution of ration under the new atta-dal scheme.

The Punjab government started the scheme on Sunday last to distribute wheat at Rs 1 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg. The government announced that it would double the beneficiaries under the new scheme from 15 lakh to 30 lakh families.

“It is not feasible for us to distribute subsidised food grain under the state’s atta-dal scheme as we do not have resources to implement the same,” Sidhu said.

“We are already getting a meager commission for distribution of foodgrain under different schemes and the quantum of commission has not been revised for years. And now with this new scheme we have to bear additional expenditure, which will make our business unviable,” he said.

A delegation of fair price shop owners met Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon on Monday.

 “We demanded from the minister to devise some mechanism to facilitate payment to us to implement the scheme. But we were not given any assurance, so we decided to go on strike,” he said.

Punjab demanded Rs 11,800 per month from the central government for implementing the food security legislation.

Comments (+)